education

Tom Check / Flickr

A Western Massachusetts school committee has voted to keep the state’s only operation virtual school open next year.

Recently the Greenfield Public Schools Committee voted to reverse an earlier decision that would have discontinued the operation of the district’s Massachusetts Virtual Academy in the 2013-2014 school year.

Some committee members had felt that ceding control of the Virtual Academy to the state’s new Commonwealth Virtual School program would be too similar to creating a charter school.

Richard Iannuzzi: New Yorkers Speak, but Do Legislators Hear?

Mar 19, 2013

The first signs of Spring are often its sounds—the first chirping robin, the honking of geese travelling North or the crack of the bat at a ballgame on a crisp afternoon. 

   Journalist Ron Berler spent a full year at Brookside Elementary in Norwalk, Connecticut, sitting in on classes, strategy sessions, and even faculty meetings. He was there for the first day of a new school year as the school another chance to improve its failing scores on the annual statewide standardized test known as the CMT.

In his new book, Raising the Curve, Berler introduces us to the students, teachers, and staff who make up the Brookside community. Though their school is classified as failing—like so many others across the country—they never give up on themselves or on one another. In his portrait, Berler captures their concerns, as well as their pride, resilience, and faith.

The search for a superintendent for Pittsfield Public schools has come to an end. Current superintendent of Lee Public Schools Jason McCandless will be taking the position in Pittsfield in the next school year. WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard spoke with McCandless about his new job, the federal and state education budget, and closing the so-called achievement gap in Massachusetts Gateway Cities.

WAMC

Members of the Massachusetts Legislature have begun a series of public hearings on Governor Deval Patrick’s $34.8 billion dollar budget proposal.  A hearing, run by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Ways and Means was held at Greenfield Community College on Tuesday. The focus of the session was on education and local aid. 

   The 22nd Annual New York in Bloom takes place this weekend at The New York State Museum in Albany, New York. The event is a fundraiser benefiting the Museum’s educational programs for children.

Garden club members, professional designers, interior designers and floral enthusiasts from the Capital District and beyond will create unique floral arrangements that complement and interpret the Museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Middletown NY City School District

The New York State United Teachers Union today filed suit in New York State Supreme Court in Albany to challenge the state's the 2% property tax cap enacted in June 2011.

WAMC's Brian Shields was joined by NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi to talk about the lawsuit.  

wohnai/Creative Commons

Governor Peter Shumlin has unveiled a plan to get more Vermont students into college and to produce more skilled workers.

The proposal would expand the dual enrollment program to allow more high school juniors and seniors to attend college classes, for free. Students would be able to attend up to two classes at the Vermont State Colleges, the University of Vermont, and participating private institutions.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Education issues are on the agenda in Albany as state Assembly lawmakers hold another in a series of public hearings on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposals.

Monday's hearing at the Legislative Office Building in downtown Albany is expected to include testimony from the chancellor of the City University of New York, Matthew Goldstein; state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.; State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, leaders of the teachers union and other officials.

WAMC (Dave Lucas)

Advocates for early childhood education lobbied Monday at the Capitol in support of Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to expand pre-K programs in New York's school districts.

A big push for pre-K funding in Albany as parents, educators and law enforcement officials voiced their support for Governor Andrew Cuomo's 25-million dollar proposed budget allocation for pre-K that would establish full-day programs in high need districts.

WAMC

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is campaigning for a big tax hike. Patrick is making the case that more revenue is needed to pay for things people say they want and need.

   Governor Deval Patrick, during a recent swing through western Massachusetts, pressed the case for raising  taxes to invest in education and transportation infrastructure.  Patrick met with students and faculty in a machinists training program at Springfield Technical Community College. The program prepares people to work in the precision manufacturing sector.

WAMC/Dave Lucas

A broad coalition of parents, educators and business leaders – representing all 47 public school districts from seven Capital Region counties – gathered last night in East Greenbush for an unprecedented advocacy rally titled "Your Public Schools in Fiscal Peril - Running Out of Time and Options.” 

According to new data, 4-year high school graduation rates in Massachusetts are on the increase, while the dropout rate is on the decline.

State officials recently announced that the 4-year graduation rate has improved in the Bay State for the sixth year in a row. JC Considine, a spokesman for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said that the statewide dropout rate also decreased to 2.5% in the last school year.

Pat Arnow

Education and Medicaid comprise 50-percent of the state budget.  Governor Cuomo’s proposed education budget will continue several of the funding programs that were enacted in the last budget appropriation.

NYS School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy Kremer says he is favorably impressed with the Governor’s plan.

Photo by Kane5187/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Dartmouth College will stop awarding credit based on Advanced Placement exam scores starting with the class of 2018.

The Ivy League school in Hanover, N.H., currently awards some credit for AP and other test scores. But faculty recently voted to end the practice because they believe AP courses are not equivalent to Dartmouth classes. Though some students have used the credit to graduate early, officials say future students will still have other ways to do that.

Boston Globe Web Staff

Out of many of the proposals Governor Patrick made in this State of the State address, an increase in transportation & infrastructure spending in particular struck a chord in the Berkshires.

The Governor’s specific mention of connecting Pittsfield to New York with commuter rail service was of particular interest to Pittsfield state representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier….

Jared Benedict

The Vermont School Boards, and the Vermont Superintendents, Associations have released a five point agenda that they say will create a world-class education system in the state.

The agenda for a World Class Education system includes universal access to pre-K education, creation of Innovation Zones, personal learning plans, revision of the collective bargaining system and greater family involvement in education.  Vermont Superintendents Association Executive Director Jeff Francis says the state has a good public education system, but in a global economy it must be better.  Francis explains that the associations began crafting the five-point plan last fall.

A new law signed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will require all school employees in the Commonwealth to undergo both a state and federal background check. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

The law signed by Gov. Patrick titled An Act Relative to Background Checks would require teachers and other school employees to submit to a national fingerprint supported background review. Prior to the passage of the bill, school employees in the Commonwealth had only needed to submit to a background check on the state level.

Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves A Second Chance at Education is the first book to look at the schools that serve a growing population of “second-chancers,” exploring what higher education—in the fullest sense of the term—can offer our rapidly changing society.

A series of federal grants aimed at supporting additional learning time have been awarded to schools and other education organizations across Massachusetts. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program, or CCLC, was created in 2001 through the Federal No Child Left Behind Act. And very recently, winners in Massachusetts were announced to use award money to increase learning time, in an effort to improve student achievement.

Virtual Schools primarily teach students in online classrooms. And while many traditional schools use online teaching materials to broaden instruction, a virtual school usually operates for students unable to attend a regular school.

After accepting the recommendations of a panel appointed to study how public schools in New York can be improved, Governor Andrew Cuomo made it clear that not all schools are created equal, and they cannot be treated as such. The governor says schools in the poor, high-needs areas of New York must also provide student support in social services. Tim Kremer, the executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, agrees with the governor but has concerns about where the money will come from. He spoke today with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

Victoria Choi / Flickr

Many of the recommendations released Wednesday have been proposed before but blocked by politics or lack of funding. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says those remain major obstacles.

Some of the ideas are already in place to some degree, including teacher competency tests and using schools to address health, mental health and other social needs.

Hank Gross

  There was a rally on Long Island, and then the bus departed for the Hudson Valley for a stop in Kingston before calling it a day in Albany.

The message was clear. New York State's schools are hurting and a lack of funding is making it difficult to educate our children.

“We are maintaining. We should be in good shape for the next couple of years,” said Maureen Bowers, a Kingston school board member, as she spoke in front the Educate NY Now Express bus that was making the run to Albany. 

 

Earlier this week, officials in five states announced they would be participating in a pilot program that would add hundreds of hours in classroom time to the school year. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard has more…

School for thousands of Massachusetts public school students is about to get quite a bit longer.

Massachusetts is among five states announcing today that they'll add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools starting in 2013. The initiative is intended to boost student achievement and make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level. The other states are Colorado, Connecticut, New York and Tennessee.

New York Bus Tour for Education to End in Albany

Dec 3, 2012
AP Photo

  Hundreds of students, parents and teachers are getting ready to head to Albany to ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers for more money for education.

Organizers say 10-15 buses will depart from every corner of New York Dec. 5. Once in Albany, the group will march from the State Museum to the Capital.

The event is being called the Educate NY Now Express tour and is a response to deep cuts in state educationaid combined with a new property tax cap limiting what districts can raise through tax increases.

WAMC

 

 New York is among five states planning to add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar for some schools starting next year.

The three-year pilot program is intended to boost student achievement and make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level. The other states participating are Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Tennessee.

Schools will work with parents and teachers to decide whether to make the school day longer, add more days to the school year or both.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

  The U.S. Department of Education announced on Monday that the Middletown City School District is among 61 applications selected as a finalist for the Race to the Top-District competition.

The program will provide close to $400 million to support locally developed plans to personalize and deepen student learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare every student for success in college and careers.

The Governor of Massachusetts has submitted a request to the state’s Commissioner of Higher Education that  formerly undocumented students living in the Commonwealth receive in-state college tuition at public universities and community colleges. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

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